Faith Coates is a social enterprise consultant from Canada. She is a social enterprise consultant, a travel blogger, an avid social media participant, and even a housesitter… all while globetrotting.
Faith established her own consulting agency three years ago, after getting tired of making money for other people at her 9-to-5 job.
So how did she manage to avoid the harsh Canadian winters so she can travel the world with her husband?
by consulting businesses remotely to make money, and also working as a house-sitter to save on rent!
How Being an Expert Can Be Your Ticket to a Location Independent Lifestyle
Faith had always been a fighter for social justice. Back in university, she started a newspaper which revolved around feminism and poverty. However, after graduating in 1993, she wanted to focus on empowering the local economy. So she started her own food consulting business called Sun & Sky Foods. The company pioneered the gluten-free and organic food movements in Ontario.
She collaborated with local governments, farmers, grocery stores, and other food-related companies to promote the purchase of locally grown commodities and became London’s own social enterprise warrior: “By 2005 I had a reputation as a person who had the knowledge on how to create revenue streams for not for profits and charities by launching social enterprise businesses to help them develop revenue.”
In 2010, a local theatre company hired her on a freelance basis and was so impressed with her work that she got promoted to a general manager. During that time, she managed to bring in over $50,000 in annual revenue for the company. But she noticed it wasn’t giving her the same joy as before: “I was tired of making bucket loads of money for others. Unexperienced, new consultants were also coming in and the rat race got exhausting. Since my husband took an early retirement, I decided to screw the 9-to-5 and take off for Mexico.”
Win Over Your First Client By a Little Show and Tell
Due to a limited retirement fund, the couple wanted to double their travel budget to Mexico. They thought that the best way was to sell everything they had before leaving Canada. They kept their best stuff in their two trusty pieces of luggage and fled to a rented house in Yucatan.
As she had always kept a few independent contracts on top of her former job, she worked on these projects during her time in Mexico. To continue getting clients, she figured that she needed a platform to display her work. She set up a simple website to advertise her services, showcase her portfolio and resume. Faith even disclosed her fees on the website, as it would signal trust. This way, all she needed to do was to give prospective clients a link to her website, called The Artful Marketer.
She also set up a blog specifically to help her readers on various aspects of digital and social media marketing. Faith says this helped position herself as an experienced player in the industry.
To keep herself busy, Faith started looking for more clients by joining various groups on Facebook to see how others have faired off. From there, she found a community of virtual assistants where she gained tips and advice and learned how to optimize LinkedIn so she could expand her network.
On top of that, she started another blog filled with the couple’s travel experiences around the world. She also kept the same concept of providing informative and quality content to her readers. It helped her reach 15,000 active readers in 6 months, with 6,000 newsletter subscribers: “I spent several weeks learning Pinterest and created pins for all my blog pieces. I also joined every Pinterest group on Facebook where I would share my pins. As it turns out, Pinterest actually drives a lot of traffic!”
Keep Your Costs at a Minimum By Housesitting
It’s been three years since Faith and her husband left Canada to live in countries where snow blizzards don’t exist. To sustain their life, Faith and her husband keep three sources of income:
- Their retirement fund
- Faith’s consulting agency
- Housesitting for friends
Although they don’t exactly earn money from housesitting, it’s an exchange they fully take advantage of. Having a house that she gets to take care of also provides a comfortable workspace, especially when she engages in video calls with her clients. They also get to immerse themselves in the local culture and keep their travel expenses at a minimum. Her housesitting blog has also helped drive traffic and potential clients to her agency, where she earns about $30,000 a year. With accommodation taken care of, that’s a pretty sweet deal!
Faith sees no regrets in quitting the rat race and selling off all her belongings. She’s happy that she wouldn’t ever need to worry about mortgages and rent. However, these are some of the things she believes you need to do before taking the leap:
- Make sure your existing social media profiles are up to date and keep a good list of references for work – these would help strengthen your portfolio.
- Join as many supportive groups on Facebook and LinkedIn you can find so you can get tips and advice on how to get the kind of clients that you want – that’s how Faith found her B2B clients on LinkedIn!
- Throw in a free consultation for clients when you first start out. It is a great incentive and helps you spread the word about your service.